YHS features science at annual symposium

Youngsville High School held its annual All School Science Symposium on Friday. Students in grades 9 through 12 were represented, although only about 300 students had projects..

Ninth-grade students were from the environmental science classes. Science teacher and science department head Laura Dorunda said the ninth-grade students’ projects “are actually being judged by teachers in our building.”

The top project will go on to Allegheny College in Meadville for another symposium next Friday. There they will compete against students from other western Pennsylvania schools; YHS is the only Warren County school participating.

The tenth- through twelfth-grade students were representing English classes, researching their projects, writing reports, then building exhibits.

A number of outside agencies participated, including the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Allegheny National Forest, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and a former YHS student, Ron Aiello, who is a nuclear physicist living in Georgia. Each year, Aiello comes back to Youngsville to participate in the symposium and teach for a day.

The event was open to the parents and the public, and students from Youngsville Elementary Middle School visited. About 800 people attended.

Dorunda said the first symposium was started about 15 years ago by a former student who went on to Allegheny College. Ever since then, the college has not only participated, but developed a program called Creek Connections, a collaborative outreach effort with YHS and other high schools. Students collect at least eight monthly water samples, test them in the field and the lab, and the results are shared in the spring.